Category Archives: Coursework

EYV Exercise 5.3 – Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare

Image 1

Henri Cartier-Bresson Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare 1932

We looked at ‘point’ earlier in the course, in exercise 1.2. I understood then how a tiny point in an image can draw the eye to a particular part, and how the eye then travels around the picture. In part 3 of the course, I spent some time looking at Cartier-Bresson’s Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, in terms of the ‘decisive moment’, and I made a mind map of my thoughts about it in my sketch book. It is interesting to return to this photograph in terms of the information it contains, and the story that is created.

I was interested in Vilem Flusser’s distinction between photography and writing in his assertion that ‘when you read a sentence you read it from beginning to end in a linear way – you don’t re-read particular words again and again… but when you look at a photograph, your eye returns to certain elements … almost as if to re-experience them (Flusser 2000 in course notes p110)

I do sometimes re-read words in my favourite writings simply to re-enjoy the beauty of a particular choice of word or phrase, but never do I routinely read backwards, or read words in a random way since this would make no sense of the story. However, I agree that generally, reading is linear. With a picture, reading it in different ways, looking at the image again and again, is certainly possible, and new things can be noticed each time.

Similarly, when looking at Edward Hopper’s painting The Office at Night and Victor Burgin’s homage photographs of it, I noticed new things each time. For example, I didn’t initially notice the significance of the blowing curtains until I made further research.

There is a lot to look at in Bresson’s image, a lot of information. However, the pivotal point, for me,  in this image is the point at which the man’s foot almost touches the floor. This is the ‘gap’ that creates the suspense and leaves the story ‘open’. Like The Office at Night, we wonder what happens next – will the secretary bend and pick up the paper? will our man get wet?

From the point, my eye then travels around the image. I take in the spectator, leaning in the same direction as the main subject as if shouting ‘hurry, you’ll be late’, the multiple reflections and mirroring that provided balance in the image by making the background every bit as interesting as the main event. The symmetry of the reflections of the fence, the dancer in the background ‘fleeing’ in the opposite direction, the double reflections of the Railowski sign, static and permanent, all seem to emphasise the chaos and anxiety that we see in the leaping figure. He is positioned at the right of centre, and he is almost out of the image. I covered him up with my hand and confirmed that without him, this is a very orderly scene.

In terms of photography as story, I am interested in how a photograph ‘is more than just information – it can contain a story. And the photographer is … a storyteller’ (course notes p110)

When I look at Bresson’s image I think about the story, in terms of the moments before and after the image was captured. Why is this man in such a rush? Where is he going? is he late to meet someone, or is he simply late for work. Taken before we all carried phones, this image makes me start to picture someone waiting for him, worried? angry? The boss looking at his watch? There is a lot of information in the pivotal point, it leads to an imaginative interpretation of a story created by the image. I want to know more about this man and his life, why was this moment in time so important to him? Would it matter if he were late? Does it matter now?

Rinko Kawauch’s Illuminance, conveys information in a very different way to Bresson. See my post photography as information for my thoughts on how an absence of information can tell its own story.

List of Illustrations

Image 1:

Cartier Bresson, Henri (1932) Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare. Photograph. At: https://www.bing.com/images/search?&q=behind+the+gare+saint-lazare&qft=+filterui:licenseType-Any&FORM=R5IR40. accessed 11 April 2017

References

Flusser, V. (2000). Towards a philosophy of photography. 1st ed. London: Reaktion.

 

EYV Exercise 5.2 – Homage

Brief: Take a photograph in response to an image by any photographer of your choice. Be explicit about what you are responding to. Add both images to your leaning log. Which of the three types of information discussed by Barrett provides the context in this case? Submit the exercise as part of assignment 5.

Following My visit to Graves Gallery in Sheffield and my viewing of some of Walker Evans’ images, I have enjoyed looking at this artist’s work. In Walker Evans ‘Photofile’ (2007) the second image in the collection caught my attention:

Image 1

Walker Evans, Brooklyn Bridge, New York, 1929

Brooklyn Bridge, New York, 1929 is a view of the bridge, taken from below. The bridge may not at first be easily recognised as such since the shapes created by the viewpoint are unconventional and different to how people normally see it . The dark shape of the bridge may even be initially seen as a vertical structure, like a huge statue. The height and size of the bridge in this image is exaggerated since it appears to tower over the city, which takes up a much smaller part of the image. The viewer sees the bridge from a new and unusual perspective.

This image is part of Evans’ Bridge project, which included a number of images of Brooklyn Bridge. Another of his images: From the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, 1929 is taken from a high position on the bridge, looking down towards the river and shows an abstract view of the railway carriages below and a ship passing by. Other images of the bridge highlight the construction, presenting a different view of a familiar subject. By presenting the bridge in a non-traditional way, using photography not as documentary but as art, Evans drew attention to the bridge as modern and novel.

My empathy with Evans’ work follows my work on Assignment 4 where I re-looked at ordinary things in my home village. and found that they were made almost beautiful by the ambient artificial light. This gave me a new appreciation of the ordinary and the beauty that can be found in everyday things. My homage to Evans is a response to my awareness of the mundane in my surroundings and my acknowledgement of how he made the common-place more visible again.

I have driven under this railway bridge many times. If someone had asked me, I should not even have known what it looked like.  My homage photography has resulted in a new appreciation of this bridge. I was able, during my shoot, to walk over it, and to look down to the road below. I noticed things I had previously passed by, and I noticed just how many people used the bridge as a vital link across a very busy road. The bridge itself is highly ‘graffitied’ and a real pleasure to photograph.

My bridge is clearly much lower and shorter than Brooklyn Bridge, the angles and shapes are gentler, and my bridge is therefore immediately recognisable as a bridge. I believe that the internal context in my image is sufficient to enable a viewer to understand that this is an image of a bridge taken from an unusual angle to highlight the construction of it. A title ‘Railway Bridge, Stairfoot’ would add interest for local viewers, keen to recognise it, and it may be sufficient to encourage viewers to notice the bridge in a new way the next time they drive underneath it.

I hope that my image has shown my affinity with that of Evans in that it presents an ordinary (or in the case of Brooklyn Bridge, extra-ordinary but under-appreciated) but essential part of the community’s infrastructure, in such a light that it is appreciated anew.

In terms of context, Evans’ image is such an unusual viewpoint (particularly at the time that it was taken) that even with the additional information provided by a recognisable skyline, a viewer may find the title helpful in understanding the image. Internal context is provided by what is contained within the frame, and also by its title, date and name of the artist.  No further information would be needed for a viewer to appreciate the subject within this image. The viewer understands that this is an image that is drawing attention to the bridge as a construction and which emphasises it as a significant part of the landscape.

I have a copy of this image in a photo-book of Evans’ work (Evans 2007). It is presented on a double-page spread with the image on the right and its title and date in small print on the left. The external context provided by the presentation of this image in a collection like this, with other significant works by the same artist, encourages me to view it not only as a single image but as part of a body of work. The fact that is has been selected, edited and chosen as representative of the work of an important photographer, further encourages me to value the image as more than just an image but also in terms of what I know about the artist.

An understanding of why Evans wanted to take his Bridge photographs adds an additional understanding. Without the original context, I appreciate his image as an artistic presentation of something ordinarily presented from a more traditional viewpoint. With it, I understand that it was intended to display it in a new light to emphasise it as the extraordinary construction that it is rather than simply the link across the river.

The course notes ask that I consider the possibility of my camera having shooting modes that ensure perfect images in the categories of ‘beauty’, ‘creativity’, or ‘memento’ and asks which mode was used in this exercise. This is an interesting thought. I think that the unusual point of view and short focal length highlights this neglected and unnoticed bridge. Also, I think that although the straight line of the shadow on the wall emphasises the angles of the iron structure, the bridge as a whole is softened by the sunlight. I hope it also shows, through the cars and the steps leading to nearby houses, that the bridge is an important part of a local community. I think that my image therefore shows creativity rather than beauty or a perfect memento.

List of illustrations

1 Evans, Walker (1929) Brooklyn Bridge, New York, 1929 (photograph). At:   https://www.bing.com/images/search?&q=Evans+brooklyn+bridge%2c+new+york%2c+1929&qft=&FORM=R5IR39 (Accessed 27 March 2017)

Bibliography

Evans, W. and Mora, G. (2007). Walker Evans. London: Thames & Hudson.

EYV Exercise 5.1 The distance between us

The brief is for this exercise is to ‘find a subject that you have empathy with and take a sequence of shots to explore the distance between you’.

When you review the set to decide upon a select, don’t evaluate the shots just according to the idea you had when you took the photographs; instead evaluate it by what you discover within the frame. Be open to the unexpected.

‘Look critically at the work you did by including what you didn’t mean to do. Include the mistake, or your unconscious, or whatever you want to call it, and analyse it not from the point of view of your intention, but because it is there.’ (Alexia Clorinda, in course notes, p 104)

The concept of multiple points of view, and a relationship between photographer, subject and viewer, is new to me. However, it makes sense that each part of this triangle sees the event of photography from a different perspective. The photographer will have an idea of the image she wants to achieve, the (human) subject will experience the act of being photographed in a particular way, and the viewer of the resulting image will interpret it according to her experiences. They each will have a different experience of the final image, a different point of view.

I am reminded of my interpretation of Sharon Boothroyd’s images , in her exhibition ‘They all say please’, and my observation of one image in particular: ‘There are hundreds of possibilities in this image and I would be very interested to know the artist’s intention, and other students’ interpretation of it.’ Further, I wrote: ‘This exhibition really showed me how individual photographs can tell intricate stories and how there are as many interpretations of an image as their are viewers of it’.

In considering this exercise, and the ‘triangle’ of involvement in the event of photography, I thought first of my own reluctance to be photographed, and to take pictures of people, and thought about how I could express this discomfort in an image, highlighting an emotional distance between photographer and photographer, and emphasising the potential for very different points of view.

My initial ideas included capturing my subject partially hidden, as the photographer is with her camera, suggesting a reluctance to appear in the image. Perhaps the subject could hide his face with a hat, or his hand. I felt in doing this, I would illustrate that individuals do not all appreciate having their picture taken and do not necessarily respond with a smile.

Image 1 – My select

What I intended in this image was to illustrate my subject’s reluctance to having his photograph taken, by using his helmet as a symbol of protection from intrusion by the photographer. I hoped that my capturing him doing something very ordinary, for which a helmet is unnecessary, would emphasise the intrusion. Had I captured him on his motorbike, he still may not have wanted his picture taking, but it would have been far less obvious. My subject here, clearly (I hope) is blocking out the world and suggesting a refusal to cooperate.

When I try to look at this image ‘objectively’, what I immediately observe is how difficult it is to separate what I know of my intention from the viewing experience. However, first, I see a man wearing a crash helmet and goggles while he is reading a magazine. The image is sufficiently incongruous as to make me realise there must be a message or a story. I then see a ‘Moto’ T-shirt, which I assume is significant, but I fail to make a satisfactory link. The fact is that the shirt was not a deliberate choice – my husband just happened to be wearing that particular shirt that day, but it made me think about how significant the details of an image can be. The image leaves me in some confusion but with a fairly clear sense of distance. Had I created a title ‘leave me alone’ (for example), the viewer may have more easily understood the intended message.

I chose this image as my select, not simply because it reflects my intention more than my other images (the brief was to select ‘your best shot’, not the one that matched your idea). I chose it because I felt that in some ways it was more open to an understanding by the viewer, whether it was simply seen as a comic image of a man obsessed with motorbikes, or one who was fed up listening to his wife!

Image 2

Here, I again wanted to show the subject’s face hidden in order to continue my exploration of the different viewpoints of subject and photographer. The expanse of table in the foreground was intended to exaggerate the mental distance between the parties by creating a physical distance. The large scale of the foreground flowers, although not a deliberate decision, appears to diminish the significance of the ‘real’ subject in the image, leaving me, as a viewer, somewhat confused.

Again, I have my subject in the act of doing something very ordinary, emphasising the intrusion into his daily life. As a viewer, although I have some understanding that the staging is deliberate and intended to create a message, I don’t quite get it. As the photographer, I feel it goes some way to reflecting my idea but I think I can understand that this could be seen as a snapshot gone wrong!

Image 3

My intention in image 3 was perhaps more tenuous (ambitious?). However, my husband holds, in front of his face, a small image of my mother. I wanted to suggest the distance between me and my subject by including a suggestion of a ‘generation gap’, and of the ultimate distance in death, as well as the distance implied by the hiding of his face. I wanted to show that my subject did not want to cooperate with the photograph taking and was therefore replacing himself as subject, with another. However, a viewer could not know that my mother was no longer alive and would be unlikely to understand the generation gap analogy since there is no obvious age difference between the two people in this image. It is possible that a viewer would interpret this image as emphasising the framed picture but without understanding why.

At the risk of misunderstanding Robert Bloomfield’s intentions in his image (course notes p103), my interpretation of this image as an examination of the distance between photographer and subject sees an older lady (and therefore an unconventional portrait) looking straight at the camera. The subject’s cooperative and soft gaze, directly at the photographer, shows me that she is complicit in the photography event. She is a part of the process but her smile is not a snapshot smile, it is an indulgent and proud smile, suggesting that she knows the photographer very well. This image shows the subject  as willing and complicit in the event, but conscious of the process.

This exercise was very interesting in highlighting the gap between intention and interpretation. Viewers are not mind-readers and their interpretation of an image may be very different to the intention of the photographer. I am left considering how explicit or cryptic photography should be.

As I practice analysing and interpreting photographs I understand that ‘looking at photographs can be just as imaginative as taking photographs’. (Azoulay 2012 in course notes p 103)

Thanks to my husband, a reluctant photographee.

 

EYV Exercise 4.5 Emley Moor

Emley Moor transmitting station

… in West Yorkshire, is 1,084-feet (330.4 m) tall. It is the tallest freestanding structure in the UK. (The Shard is second). It is the 24th tallest tower in the world. (Wikipedia)

I have been interested in, and photographing, Emley Moor Transmitter for some time now. After my initial reading of the course material, I had thought that I would like to capture the ‘mast’ as part of my consideration for assignment 5, and so I began early in order to take advantage of the different seasons. However, following my research for part 4 of the course, I couldn’t help but see similarities in my attention to a significant landmark, to that of John Davies in his juxtaposition of Mount Fuji with the industrial landscape, and Perkins’ juxtaposition of it with ‘ordinary’ life. I therefore decided to re-visit Emley Moor as a possibility for exercise 4.5. I wanted to show this, the tallest building in the UK, and a significant attraction, as part of the everyday world for those who live under its shadow.

A Google search screen-grab showed me predictable images of the mast. Below, is a representative sample. I noticed first that all these images are taken in portrait orientation to enable the whole of the mast to be captured within the image. The majority of the images have a blue sky background, and the only context is provided by the countryside setting shown in some of the pictures. The viewer could be forgiven for believing that the mast was in the middle of no-where, remote and inaccessible. Some images are taken at night when the mast’s lights are on, but they remain, in every other way, just like all the others. The sheep in one image give something of a sense of scale, but otherwise, the images say very little about this magnificent building or the community in which it stands.

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Inspired by John Davies and Chris Steel Perkins, I wanted to set the mast in context and, through my images, tell its story in terms of its position in Emley village. I wanted also to celebrate its ‘everydayness’ acknowledging it as more than just an attraction for non-locals and their cameras (acknowledging the obvious).

Before I come to the images taken for this exercise, I want to show an image that I took prior to starting this course:

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Image taken prior to starting EYV course

It seems that my fascination with this building is not new. What is new, however, is my response to this image. At the time, I really liked this picture. I still do, but I am amused by my ‘cherry blossom’ approach. This image reminds me of the conventional images of Mount Fuji, surrounded by cherry blossom (course notes p 92). It seems that we are so conditioned to expect a particular visual language that we reproduce the convention automatically.

For this exercise, I have deliberately avoided using a portrait orientation for my images. I did not want to replicate a focus on the mast’s height to the exclusion of all other aspects of the building. I wanted to show it in context with the community, as a ‘given’, rather than a tourist attraction, and part of the everyday landscape.

In terms of creativity, I intended the mast to appear as an integral part of the setting, as incidental, and fragmented. I chose not to try to capture the whole mast in my images. Instead I show parts of it. My intention was to show it as ordinary: there, but not defining the village. My pre-course image shows that, for me, this is a significantly different approach. I would previously have, for example, avoided getting the bus-stop in my image, but here, I wanted to show that the tower does not interfere with the ordinary activities of the people of Emley. Life for the locals is just the same as anywhere else.  I think that I have successfully imagined an alternative view of the transmitter, challenging the conventional representation. I have ‘invented’ a different perspective, which I hope would be complimentary and pleasing to the villagers in its portrayal of their home as more than just the site of the mast – as a place for leisure, and work, a place to live and enjoy. This exercise, as with all the others, pushed me in terms of my comfort zone. I tried to include people in some of my images and this involved asking for consent – the scooter riders were happy to oblige. The security man declined, which is a shame since I think image 4 would have been better had he been visible in his office, perhaps leaning out of the window. However, he too was very obliging and accompanied me so that I could get up close to the tower to take my photographs. It is seriously dizzying at a close distance.

This exercise is a personal response to a fairly long term interest in Emley Moor Transmitter, perhaps timely also since there are plans to begin massive renewal works, including the building of a new structure.

My images:

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Image 1 – final selected image – ‘What mast?’

What I liked about this image was the way in which the mast appears almost totally incidental. It is possible that these riders chose this location for their pit-stop, because of the mast, but then again, maybe they didn’t. I chose a landscape orientation and a wide focal length so as not to deliberately emphasise the height of the tower, which is consequently only shown in part. Interestingly, the fact that the top of the tower is out of the frame may actually add to the sense of height. Unlike the scene-grab images, my tower is not the only interest point. There is a sense of context and perspective, and a challenge to the conventional image that suggests that the tower is remote and inaccessible.

Below are other images I took in preparation for my selection. I drove several miles to view the mast from all directions and to get a feel about how it is seen by the people who live in the area.

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Image 2 ‘Tea and tower’

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Image 3 ‘Street furniture’

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Image 4 ‘Not the only building’

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Image 5 ‘More than just a photo opportunity’

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Image 6 ‘We still catch the bus’

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Image 7 ‘Life like everyone else’s’

It would be interesting to talk to residents about their views of the mast. I have, over the past few months, spoken to one local man who was at the mast at the same time as me on a previous shoot, and to the security officer who was so helpful while I was taking my images for this exercise. These people seemed to know everything there is to know about  Arqiva Tower, and to enjoy telling me about it. Perhaps it is both incidental and hugely significant at the same time.

References

Emley Moor transmitting station (2017) in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emley_Moor_transmitting_station (Accessed: 25 February 2017).

Screen-grab from:

MicrosoftPrivacy (2017a) Emley moor transmitter – Bing images. Available at: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=emley+moor+transmitter&qpvt=emley+moor+transmitter&qpvt=emley+moor+transmitter&qpvt=emley+moor+transmitter&FORM=IGRE (Accessed: 25 February 2017).

EYV Exercise 4.4 Ex nihilo

The brief for this exercise is to use a combination of quality, contrast, direction and colour, to light an object in order to reveal its form.

I am new to studio lighting and to thinking about taking control over the light in an image. However, I had a few attempts at this exercise to try to understand the impact of my decisions about light on my final images. I first selected natural stones as my subject and, using a combination of a hard bright sunlight, a mirror to reflect light back at the subject, and my phone torch, I experimented with exposing shape and texture.

I was surprised at the different effects created by changing the direction and quality of the light. These two images are very different. The stones in the first picture appear crescent shaped. In contrast, in the second image, the shape is more fully exposed and rounder since a fill light from the top has removed the deep shadows.

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I attempted this exercise again using a different subject and without the strong natural sunlight of my first attempt. Here are a few images (taken with my phone camera) showing my studio set-up.

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I used my A3 white sketch book as a preferred background though I experimented with black as an alternative. I used my remote to prevent camera movement when pressing the shutter since a fairly long exposure was needed. I used the under-cupboard light in my kitchen to provide a downward facing light, an angle-poise light for directional lighting from the right side and a dark towel to prevent unintended light from the left. I experimented with different white balance settings with the idea that a warm light would emphasise the ‘hotness’ of the chillies and adjusted the desk lamp, tilting it forwards to erase shadows. My aim at the time was to try to produce a still life image  with minimal shadow. Here are some of my images:

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Here are sketches of my lighting set up:

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EPSON MFP image
EPSON MFP image
EPSON MFP image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made a third attempt. The egg images below show the effect of highlighting the subject from behind as well as above. In the second image, light from more than one source has eliminated most of the shadow. In the first image, I turned off the additional side light creating more obvious shadows and changing the appearance of the shape of the eggs.

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In this final image, below, I created hard shadows through the use of a small front light. This emphasised the flower, creating an interesting shadow behind, but left the rest of the image dark.

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Overall, an interesting exercise. Lessons learned are to address white balance and colour more thoroughly – my egg photos are particularly inconsistent, and, in order to fulfil the brief more accurately, to consider differing viewpoint to create unique shots.

EYV Exercise 4.3 Artificial Light – home

Brief: Capture the beauty of artificial light in a short sequence of shots. Try to describe the difference in the quality of the light from the daytime shots in exercise 4.2

When night comes early and the house lights are on, I am drawn to the reflections in windows, which have caught my attention for some time. Inspired also by Christmas lights, I decided, as a first deliberate attempt at capturing artificial light, to look inside my home. Here are a few of my initial shots that encouraged me to notice the shapes and colours made by the reflections of lamps and lights on the windows and walls in my house:

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All these images have a warm, yellowish orange colour. I set my white balance to ensure that the white paintwork looked realistic. One of the reasons that I love this time of day is the lovely cosy light inside, when it is cold and dark outdoors.

Compared to my daylight images, these images show less variation in terms of colour and mood. My daytime shots varied according to the intensity of the light, the time of day, the colour, and the depth of shadows.

‘Daylight changes from moment to moment; the advantage of artificial light is that it stays the same’ (course notes p 83).

This exercise encouraged me to notice the effect of artificial light, particularly in terms of the very warm colours. I hope to have another go at this exercise soon.

Please see my posts on natural light:

EYV Exercise 4.2

EYV Exercise 4.2 (part 2)

EYV Exercise 4.2 (part 3)

Learning reflection – natural light

EYV Exercise 4.3 Artificial Light (3) – City

Influenced by Rut Blees Luxemburg, and as part of my initial plans for Assignment 4, I took night time city images to capture the beauty of artificial light.

I considered some of these images for part of my assignment submission but rejected them because of inconsistency with my chosen local theme. However, they continue my theme of ‘the ordinary’ and I include them as a third attempt of exercise 4.3.

windows

square

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cleaner

car

 

Please see my posts:

Assignment 4 Images

Assignment 4 – initial thoughts

EYV Exercise 4.3 – artificial light – Home

 

 

 

 

EYV Exercise 4.2 Natural Light (3)

The opening chapter of ‘Read this if you want to take better photographs‘ by Carroll, encourages a consideration of light as an object: although (light)  is intangible, it has the ‘power of a shape-shifter: the mundane can become beautiful, and the beautiful, mundane’ depending on the light. Light can ‘draw out textures, colour and detail’ and can create ‘depth’ or flatness.

Further to my considerations of the work of Sally Mann, Michael Schmidt and Trent Parke, for exercise 4.2, I stumbled upon a bright clear day one weekend when I had hoped for soft diffused light. I was forced to re-consider my morning’s photography quite abruptly, to re-look at the light and formulate an alternative approach.

I continued with my plans but, instead of the soft, foggy images I had in mind, I began to notice the way in which this unusual early February light brought out the contrasts and shadows and textures in the lovely countryside environment.

Not quite the hard light favoured by Parke, yet not the softness of Mann’s images, this light created texture in the natural world, and emphasised darkness and light creating pleasing contrast that provided additional interest and detail.

I have in mind that I may use some of my images to present work using natural light for assignment 4. However, first, here are three examples to illustrate the effects of hard light and contrast, as further analysis for exercise 4.2:

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These images stand in contrast to my low-contrast images at my post Learning Diary 6 .

The definite blacks and definite whites create more dramatic images, and the way in which the light emphasises shapes and textures further creates drama and interest. I used mono rather than colour to further show the contrast of black and white, adding to the sense of depth, shape and texture.

References:

Carroll, H (2014)Read this if you want to take great photographs. Laurence King. London.

EYV Exercise 4.2 Natural Light (2)

I first attempted this exercise keeping my viewpoint the same in each image. I felt that this would show the changes to the light more clearly by allowing a comparison of like with like. I kept my aperture constant so that the images would look the same in terms of depth of field. Please see EYV Exercise 4-2 (part 1)

I wanted to have another go at the exercise and try ‘working into’ my subject as suggested in the course notes.

I chose a nearby pretty location for convenience and decided to photograph whatever caught my eye. I did not attempt to maintain consistent viewpoints but I tried to concentrate on looking at the light and how it influenced my choice of image. I was interested in how the light highlighted and drew my attention to different things at different times of the day.

Using manual mode made it easier to capture the darker images, and I consciously tried to capture the image as I saw it. This involved deliberate comparison between what I saw and what I saw through the viewfinder. I tried to experiment with focal length but chose to use only my 16-55 zoom, and experimented with higher than usual ISO because the ground was too wet for me to use my tripod.

I took my first images at 8am and decided on approximately 2 hour intervals throughout the day, ending at about 4pm as it was getting dark.

8am

The beginning of the day was really beautiful, the sky was  just starting to lighten and the sky was blue.  This was a diffused soft light and there were no shadows. At 8am in the open field, the colour of the grass was being revealed and the light caught the fence, the water and the leaves. I feel that this was a soft light that made everything very pretty.

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10am

Things looked very different 2 hours later. Still a soft light with no shadow, but obviously lighter. The sky was pale and grey with cloud. I found myself more drawn to the details rather then the whole scene and took images of rain drops and branches, picking out the colours and contrast revealed by the light. The colours seemed cooler and muted.

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12 Noon

At noon, I felt that not much had changed. However, I felt less inspired and everything seemed flatter and slightly less pretty. I think the light may be cooler though I found it hard to be certain about this since some of my images show warmer colours.

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At 12.30 the sun came out and so I changed my 2 hour plan and went out again. The sun made a big difference to the colours and I was particularly drawn to the bright orange – compare this image to my noon one. The shadows gave the field a more interesting look and emphasised the texture of the leaves.

field-12-30-1

field-12-30-2

field-12-30-3

My battery ran out so my 12.30 session resulted in fewer images. Lesson learned.

2pm

Things looked very different in the mid afternoon. The sun created long shadows. Not the hard shadows of an afternoon summer sun but the light was harder and I was drawn to capturing mostly wider shots rather than detail. However, I liked the light reflecting from the trees. I noticed in the third images the light has created a haziness in the trees.

field-2pm-12 field-2pm-9 field-2pm-7 field-2pm-4 field-2pm-3

4pm

At 4pm it was dusk and things changed again. My images show a soft light again with warm colours and a blue sky. These images are similar to my 8am images and everything looks very pretty again. It is perhaps not so dark so more colour can be seen, which I think makes these scenes more attractive

field-4pm-1

field-4pm-2
field-4pm-3 

field-4pm-4

field-4pm-5

Overall, an interesting and enjoyable exercise in preparation for assignment 4.

EYV Exercise 4.2 Natural Light

For my initial attempt at this exercise, I set my camera on a tripod to ensure, as far as I could, the same viewpoint. I chose a consistent focal length and attempted to capture the scene as I saw it. I used manual mode but kept the aperture the same throughout to ensure my images looked alike in terms of depth of field.

It was a very flat grey day with considerable cloud cover and I almost decided to wait for a ‘better’ day. However, the brief said it didn’t matter if the day was overcast so I persevered.

I had considered the brief’s suggestion of ‘working into’ the subject, and I intend to have a further attempt at this exercise to try and do something different. On this particular day though, I was home all day and so took advantage of this to make a first attempt at observing the light.

exposure-4-1-a

10.49am                   50/34 mm 1/60  F5 ISO 200

exposure-4-1-b

12.53pm                     50/34 mm 1/60  F5 ISO 200

exposure-4-1-c

14.19pm                      50/34 mm 1/30  F5 ISO 200

exposure-4-1-d

16.29pm                       50/34 mm 1/1.3  F5 ISO 200

With artificial light

exposure-4-1-e

16.31pm                       50/34 mm 2 secs  F5 ISO 20

The first three images here look very similar. I chose the leafy plant because I wanted to see how the light affected the colours and shadows. This was a day with very weak and filtered sunlight but I can see variations in the colours of the leaves. The image taken near noon is slightly brighter, with the colour in the leaves more yellow.

I had put on the house lights in the 16.29pm image and this is where the change in the light became more apparent. The warm temperature of the artificial light is reflected on the leaves.

The 16.31pm image was an attempt to re-take the previous image but without the artificial light. I turned off all the house lights and tried to capture the scene as I saw it. It was actually becoming quite dark and the green of the leaves is less visible. The white of the bench stands out and, in hindsight, I should have checked if there was a light source, perhaps a street light, in addition to the last light of the day, that could have affected the colour and visibility of the bench.

I found that manual mode allowed me to capture the image more realistically. Had I taken these images in automatic mode, my camera would have metered for mid grey and the darker images would have been lighter and therefore less accurate recordings of the scene.

My favourite image is the one lit from the front with artificial light. I think the light suggests activity nearby and therefore a story, which is absent in the other images.  I am looking forward to experimenting more with the beauty of artificial light in exercise 4.3.

Notes:

Please see my second attempt at this exercise in my post: EYV Exercise 4.2 (part 2)